BWW Reviews: Tennessee Rep's LARRIES
Tennessee Repertory Theatre opened their 2013-2014 season with the world premiere of a new work by playwright-in-residence Nate Eppler. With direction by René D. Copeland and scenic design by Gary C. Hoff, Larries take the audience on a most interesting journey. Lighting designe by Phillip Franck also deserves a mention. The lighting for the show was extremely fitting and set the mood no matter what the scene.
With hilarious, dark, and strange turns Larries centers on a family in which the husband and wife have been dealing with marital issues. The thing that separates Larries from any other family drama is when Wanda comes home looking for a fight with her husband, she finds him. And him. And him. And him.
"WHAT??" you ask. Well...when Wanda, played by Shannon Hoppe, comes home she finds her husband Larry visibly shaken and nursing a large glass of some sort of alcohol. Larry begins to tell her a story about seeing himself at work that morning. Wanda thinks this is all a metaphor until Larry runs through the door and tries to attack... Larry. Soon there are Larries all over the place and we quickly discover that even though the audience and the Larries themselves can tell each other apart, Wanda and eighteen year old daughter Mackenzie cannot.Newly away to college (she went a whole six blocks away), it's Mackenzie, played by Amanda Card, who points out that there are quantum physics awry, and that the multiverses must have collided to bring all the different Larries into the same universe. We get to meet Evil Larry (he has a goatee and an eye patch!), Single Larry, Heartbreak Larry, and Regular Larry. If you count the other two Larries that we hear about (I call them Dead Larry & Runaway Larry), there are six in all.
The entire premise of the show could be seen as completely ridiculous and strange, but I found it more of an interesting look at the choices we make and how those choices dictate our lives. Larry (or as I like to call him, Original Larry), played by David Compton, is unhappy, but seems to do his best to avoid confrontation with Wanda at all costs. Single Larry, played by Tony Morton, never married. He has a successful life and he's happy with his choices, but having no one to share it with puts a cloud over his "perfect" world. Bobby Wyckoff plays Heartbreak Larry. Heartbreak Larry is separated from his Wanda and completely miserable with his life. We never truly find out what makes Evil Larry, played by Geoff Davin, so evil, but you can't help but wonder about the choices that were made in his life to make him the person he's become.
Some of the most interesting interactions during the show were between Wanda and Mackenzie. Shannon Hoppe gives Wanda such a multi-layered personality that you can't really decide if you should hate Wanda or feel sorry for her. I felt a little of both. Amanda Card gives Mackenzie a personality that is so very typical of an apathetic teen that I really couldn't help by remember my own monotone conversations with my own parents as I "humored" them while secretly saying to myself how right I was and how dumb they were. Wanda and Mackenzie have an extremely volatile relationship. Mackenzie knows how to push Wanda's buttons and Wanda doesn't know how to deal with a daughter she doesn't understand.Mackenzie also had some very interesting scenes with Single Larry. Their interactions made both characters change the way that viewed their own lives. While Single Larry seemed to be the most well-adjusted person in the show, Mackenzie brought out the cracks in his own life, showing that even "perfect" might not be as perfect as you think.
When all the dust settles, Wanda has to decide which Larry is truly hers, and if their relationship is even worth having. While this may not be a show for a younger audience, it absolutely will be a ball of laughs for adults. Bring your friend so you can relish your singleness, your significant other to laugh about your relationship, or go by yourself as I did, and take the time to look at the way our lives our affected by every choice we make. Larries plays at Tennessee Repertory Theatre thru September 21st. You can get tickets by calling the box office at 1-877-216-7540 or by visiting their website.